From a marketing perspective, WWE’s partnership with Bad Bunny is pretty easy to explain. Get his millions of listeners (most of whom are in the 18 - 34 year old demographic) to follow him to Royal Rumble, Raw, and WrestleMania 37. Putting him with Damian Priest is likewise pretty straight forward - a lot of Bunny’s fans are Spanish-speaking, so pairing the Puerto Rican with a Nuyorican will give them someone to root for when the music star goes back to his main gig.
In order for that to happen, there needs to be a storyline explanation for why Bunny’s on WWE’s shows, and why he’s allied with Priest. The Archer of Infamy’s been giving his pitch in interviews, like this one with the company’s broadcast partner in the United Kingdom:
"Where he was born and raised, I was raised, and it's not a good area. We both had that struggle."— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) February 3, 2021
"It's all over the news there, everyone is talking about it! We're a proud culture."@ArcherOfInfamy talks his friendship with @sanbenito and a potential Mania match pic.twitter.com/zsIozlmiX7
“Some people love that Bad Bunny is in WWE; some people hate it. Our fans don’t always accept outsiders, but when it comes to Bad Bunny, he’s one of us. This isn’t some star just coming to WWE for a paycheck—he loves this, and it is very authentic. He wants to learn, and he’s enjoying this and making the most of every second.
“If it [teaming with Bunny] means I’m making my WrestleMania debut, then I’m all for it. And if there is a possibility for me to do anything with a mega, worldwide star like Bad Bunny, and wrestle two very well-known wrestling personalities, then, of course. Why wouldn’t I? I don’t know what’s to come for WrestleMania, but that would be amazing.”
... and on WWE Network’s own Raw Talk, where he reiterated the same points to R-Truth and Charly Caruso (who likes DP):
“Someone [Bad Bunny] who’s an actual friend of mine... So getting to share the spotlight with him, somebody who’s an actual fan - loves this business since he was a kid - it’s cool for me to see as well, so we’re sharing that moment. Both basically new here on Monday Night Raw. We’re just having a blast. It’s awesome. I have zero complaints.”
Leaning into Bunny’s lifelong fandom and commitment to not just show up for a paycheck is the model that worked with Stephen Amell, Pat McAfee, and (for a while) Ronda Rousey. It’s the right model to follow.
Will it work again? Can WWE make this story of Bunny & Priest vs. The Miz & John Morriosn one that will get new viewers to stick around, and existing ones to not tune out?
We’ll find out on the Road to WrestleMania.